South African photographer kidnapped in Syria back home – source

ANKARA (Reuters) – A South African photojournalist kidnapped in Syria by Islamic State three years ago returned home on Thursday with the help of Turkey’s intelligence agency, a security source in Ankara said.

Shiraaz Mohamed was captured in January 2017 after travelling to document the suffering of Syrians under war, according to South African charity Gift of the Givers.

The charity tweeted on Dec. 15 that he had been freed and was awaiting coordination between South Africa’s government and Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency to fly him home.

That took place on Thursday, the Turkish intelligence source told Reuters, without giving more details.

There was no immediate confirmation from South Africa’s foreign ministry, Mohamed’s family or the Turkish government.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman told Reuters the ministry had confirmed to the charity on Dec. 18 it was in contact with Turkish intelligence, which had said Mohamed was with them. But the charity had received no more information since Dec. 26 and had not been involved with the case since, he added.

Turkey borders northern Syria, where Mohamed was said to have been kidnapped.

Reporting by Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Alexander Winning in Johannesburg; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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